Welcome to the blog of the Henderson, Ky., Depot Community Room. The Community Room strives to promote a better understanding of Henderson, Ky., history and culture through special programs and exhibits. Our exhibit hall features the collections of the Henderson County Historical and Genealogical Society. The Community Room is funded by the City of Henderson, Ky., through the Henderson County Tourist Commission.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

150 Years Ago Hendersonians Heard the Battle 100 Miles Away

On February 14 and 15, 1862, the desperate battle of Fort Donelson was fought.

Starling wrote in his "History of Henderson County, Kentucky":

"...on Thursday afternoon, when the great guns of the Confederate water batteries and the mortars on board of the Federal gunboats were engaging each other in a frightful artillery duel, the thundering roar was distinctly heard in this county, though perhaps 100 miles away."

He went on to say: "...many men from Henderson had enlisted in both armies... and in this battle were many from Henderson. There was a full company of Confederates, and perhaps, as many Federals, from Henderson engaged in that conflict.

"There were two brothers...one serving in the ranks of the Confederacy and one in the ranks of the Union, again there were three brothers in the same battle, one in the Confederate and two in the Union army. There were classmates, and former bosom friends arrayed against each other, and this made those wicked days more sad and terrible to contemplate."

Maralea Arnett wrote in her book, "The Annals and Scandals of Henderson County, Kentucky:"

"During the battle of Ft. Donelson, Confederate Captain O.B. Steele saw his brother, Cyrus, a Union soldier, lying mortally wounded."

While Henderson's government was loyal to the Union, its citizenry was divided, with sympathies to each side tearing families apart.